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UFC 234: Whittaker vs. Gastelum
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UFC 234: Whittaker vs. Gastelum

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UFC 234: Whittaker vs. Gastelum, takes place on February 10, 2019 at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.   The main event will be a UFC Middleweight Championship bout between the current champion Robert Whittaker versus The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs.  Team Sonnen middleweight winner Kelvin Gastelum.

UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker

Australian Robert Whitaker became the interim middleweight champion when he defeated Yoel Romero on July 8, 2017 at UFC 213 by unanimous decision.  The reigning middleweight champion, Michael Bisping had previously announced that he had a knee injury that would keep him from defending his title for several months- thus, the UFC created the interim title.

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However, on November 4, 2017, former welterweight Champion, George St. Pierre went on to defeat middleweight champion Michael Bisping on November 4, 2017 by submission – crowing him the new UFC middleweight champion.  On December 7, 2017, George announced that he would be vacating his UFC title after suffering from ulcerative colitis. As a result, Whittaker was promoted to undisputed middleweight champion.

Whittaker was scheduled to hold his first title defense at UFC 221 against former champion Luke Rockhold.  However, he suffered a staph infection in his stomach and was replaced by Yoel Romero. During this fight, Yoel was able to defeat Rockhold by knockout via punches in the third round.  This set up a rematch with Whittaker versus Yoel Romero at UFC 225 on June 9, 2018. This rematch was a back and forth fight, where Whittaker won by split decision, earning both of the fighters “Fight of the Night” honors.  

This fight with #4 UFC middleweight Kelvin Gastelum will mark Whittaker’s second UFC Middleweight title defense.

Legend Anderson Silva will be co-main event

In the co-main event, former champion and mixed martial arts legend, 43 year old Anderson Silva, currently the #15 UFC middleweight, takes on 29 year old, #6 ranked UFC Middleweight, Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya in an exciting middleweight matchup between two excellent stand up fighters.  Israel, who has an impressive 15-0 mixed martial arts record, also has a professional boxing record of 5-1, and a professional kickboxing record of 75-5, with 48 knockouts. Anderson Silva’s storied mixed martial arts record of 34-8, also has 20 highlight reel knockouts, over UFC elites like Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt, Forrest Griffin, Vitor Belfort, Yushin Okami, and Stephan Bonnar.

Former ADCC Winner Rani Yahya

#15th ranked Rani Yahya (26-9 MMA, 11-3 UFC) will be taking on Ricky Simon (14-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) in a bantamweight match up.  Yahya, has won seven of his past eight bouts, including a three fight submission winning streak. Simon is looking to extend his undefeated UFC record, as well as his seven fight winning streak overall.

Rani Yahya, age 34, won the 66 kilogram division in the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championships in 2007.  In that tournament, he defeated Darrel Moodley (submission), Bruno Chavez (points) , Baret Yoshida (points), and Leonardo Vieira in the finals by Rear Naked Choke.  He had previously lost to Leonardo Vieira in the finals of the previous ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championships in 2005 (6 –0 points).

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Fight Card:

Main Card

Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva

Ricky Simon vs. Rani Yahya

Ma Dong Hyun vs. Devonte Smith

Jim Crute vs. Ryan Spann

Preliminary Card

Austin Arnett vs. Shane Young

Montana De La Rosa vs. Nadia Kassem

Kai Kara-France vs. Raulian Paiva

Teruto Ishihara vs. Kyung Ho Kang

Marcos Mariano vs. Lando Vannata

Alex Gorgees vs. Jalin Turner

Wuliji Buren vs. Jonathan Martinez

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